Town - After becoming just the fifth South African in history to take 300 Test
wickets on Friday, Proteas speedster Morne Morkel was asked to identify
the highlight of his career at the post-day press conference.
After having a think, the
33-year-old could not identify any one thing.
"Every time I walk onto the
field and get the ball in my hand, that for me is special," he eventually
Two days later, he now has an
answer to that question.
"Today was the highlight of
my life," he said at Newlands on Sunday after firing South Africa to a
322-run win in the third Test against Australia.
"If I get asked the question
again about what my most memorable or special day was, it will definitely be
Morkel was simply sublime.
After bowling four overs in Australia's
second innings, he was 0/9. By the time he was done, Morkel had claimed 5/23 in 9.4 overs.
His figures for his second spell
were staggering: 5/14 in 5.4.
In the process, Morkel picked up
his best ever match figures of 9/110.
Having announced that he will
retire at the end of the series, Morkel couldn't have asked for a better way to
"Today was very special. I
tried to enjoy it as much as possible," he said, before adding that there
was no going back on his decision to leave international cricket.
"It is tough, especially
leaving a quality group of men in the changeroom. It’s going to be sad, but all
good things come to an end."
Captain Faf du Plessis's words
were a testament to how much Morkel has contributed in his 85-Test career.
"Morne has been the guy that
went unnoticed for the first six, seven or eight years of his career," Du
"He has always been the
workhorse … I think only captains appreciate the work that someone like Morne
"He’s not the guy who gets
fifers like Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada. Morne does the donkey work and runs
in all day. He never says he’s bowled enough, you tell him that it’s enough and
he still wants to bowl more. That’s a captain’s dream."
Known as one of the more
kind-hearted members of the set-up over the years, Morkel then received some
praise from Du Plessis that he might not have expected.
"He’s been almost a mother
figure in the team, if you can say that, with a big heart," Du Plessis
said to roaring laughter.
"We’re going to miss that.
"They are size 13 boots that
are going to need to be filled. They’re big shoes.
"We understand his decision.
It’s a decision for his future and his family, but I think he’s going to miss
days like this a lot."